Martin Foyle can be the man to guide Southport back into the Football League – that is the ambitious view of chairman Charlie Clapham.
The Sandgrounders moved swiftly to appoint the 51-year-old as their new manager, replacing previous boss John Coleman who has been tipped to take the reins at relegated Tranmere Rovers.
Former striker Foyle scored more than 200 goals in a 20-year playing career during the 1980s and1990s.
After spells at Aldershot and Oxford United, Foyle was snapped up by Port Vale in 1991 and went on to play a prominent role in John Rudge’s side as they spent seven successive years in the second tier of English football.
He made more than 300 appearances for Vale, scoring more than 100 goals for the Potteries club.
After hanging up his boots in 2000 at the age of 36, Foyle then became manager at Vale Park in 2004, taking over from Brian Horton.
He enjoyed a three-year stint before going on to manage both York City and Hereford United.
He guided the Minstermen to Wembley in successive seasons.
But they lost both the FA Trophy in 2009 and the Conference play-off final in 2010 to Stevenage Borough and Oxford United respectively.
Southport lost their Football League status in 1978 when they were replaced by Wigan Athletic but Clapham said: “We are all very excited by the appointment of Martin Foyle. He is a man with the experience to help us achieve Football League status.
“He has a tremendous CV and is a real football man. We are all looking forward to working with him.
“We said that we need to be moving the club forward and Martin can achieve this, along with bringing stability to the club.
“Our objectives are to be competitive in the league, the FA Trophy and FA Cup.
“We have acted quickly, as we had a very high standard of applicants and we needed to make appointment quickly in order that the new manager could get a squad together. This is the start of a new era.”
Foyle will inherit six players – five of which are Alan Wright’s signings during his reign in the early part of last season.
They are Danny Hattersley, Danny Hurst, Matty Challoner, David Fitzpatrick, Luke George and Yamen Osawe.
Foyle is also expected to meet with Toto Asilia and captain Scott Brown to discuss terms, while Richard Brodie – who played under the new boss at York and Hereford – is set to remain at the club.
“Martin is highly impressed with the club’s ambitions of competing at the top end of the division,” Clapham said.
“One of the major attractions for him is the excellent training facilities at Edge Hill University, combined with the tremendous support staff at the university.
“We are looking for young, promising players to move the club forward.”